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Deb Todd Wheeler: Live Experiments in Human Energy Exchange

(endurable velocipede, version 3)

October 31 - December 14, 2006

Opening Reception: November 10, 2006 >> 7 - 9:30 pm

>> Artist's Talk: Saturday, December 2 @ 6 pm

( NEW!) Boston Globe Review

Images of installation

Opening party pictures!( photos by Jerimius Paul)

This exhibition, part utopian fantasy, part meditation on possibilities and impossibilities in sustainability, concerns technology as a mediator for human interaction with the environment. Working in the 21st century means being captive to 21st century technologies, which for the most part rely on the electrical grid. In this installation, the power to fuel the kinetic sculptures comes from an alternate source: human power.

( NEW!) video of endurable velocipede (the human powered bicycle power plant)

We need Volunteer energy generators!! ( come by and ride the bike....) Sign up at the gallery

Central to the installation is a modified bicycle, which is hooked up to a generator and various rigs, gears and pulleys. By pedaling the bike, the rider (a gallery volunteer) activates the installation, generating light, wind, sound, and motion to fuel a series of kinetic studies on the fraught relationships between nature and technology. In one piece the bike powers a DC generator that in turn powers fluorescent lights embedded in hacked ant farms, in which worker-ant tunnels are dug beneath looming silhouettes of 1964 World's Fair pavillions. In another work, the same bike turns gears that transfer energy to wind power by turning a windmill-like form with sails made of recycled plastic grocery bags.

That windmill then powers a series of pivoting images, which delicately align into a third image when the wind hits them. At the end of this energy chain, the last bit of energy, animated moths and butterflies made from a year's worth of junk mail cover a wood scale model of Biosphere 2. Behind the bike rider and filling the gallery, a pulley-powered cassette deck connected to the bike plays the soundtrack from 1964 Futurama video at the speed of the rider. Also in the gallery are works on paper, and wire-frame models of flight experiments, inspired by the aerial pursuits of 19th century natural philosopher Louis Pierre Mouillard.

Visit the artist's web site http://babel.massart.edu/~debtoddwheeler/works_in_progress.htm

 

 

 

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